Azhar fined Rs 15 lakh in cheque bounce case

The magistrate had said that Azharuddin was "deliberately" avoiding appearance in the case.

New Delhi: Congress MP Mohd Azharuddin was
on Wednesday slapped a cost of Rs 15 lakh by a Delhi court for
showing "utter disdain" to it by not appearing before it in a
cheque bounce case and "wasting its time."

Metropolitan Magistrate (MM) Vikrant Vaid, who had earlier
issued non-bailable warrants (NBWs) against the
cricketer-turned-politician for his failure to appear before
him in the case, imposed the cost after being informed that
Azharuddin had amicably arrived at an out-of-court settlement.

"If settlement had to be done, it could have been done on
the first date itself," the court said while taking strict
view on the conduct of the Lok Sabha MP from Moradabad in
Uttar Pradesh.

"As the accused (Azharuddin) showed utter disdain to the
court and wasted its time and did not appear (before it) for
this reason, I do not find any reason why the court should not
impose the cost," the judge said.

The court also imposed a penalty of Rs one lakh on one of
his friend, who had earlier submitted a bond and surety to
ensure Azharuddin`s appearance in the case, but failed to do

The complainant Sanjay Solanki, a Delhi-based businessman,
had earlier alleged that Azhar wanted to sell his Mumbai-based
property worth around Rs 4.5 crore, jointly owned by him and
his wife.

He approached Azhar to purchase the property and the deal
was finalised after which Solanki paid Rs 1.5 crore in advance
to Azhar but after some time, due to some marital dispute,
Azhar refused to sell the property and agreed to pay back the
money to Solanki but his cheques issued to Solanki were

As the hearing of the case began, the counsel for
Azharuddin as well as the complainant informed the court that
they had amicably settled the dispute for an "undisclosed

The judge while imposing the cost referred to a Supreme
Court judgement which held that a magistrate has discretion to
impose a cost of 10 per cent of the amount of bounced cheque,
if he was satisfied that the accused had wasted court`s time.

The court ordered Azharuddin to deposit the amount with
the Delhi Legal Services Authority within one months time.

The judge also allowed the plea of advocate Firoz Khan
Gazi and Gazanfar Ali Khan, who appeared for Azharuddin, for
cancellation of non-bailable warrants earlier issued by court.

The court had earlier given ten dates for hearing between
January 19 to March 3 and had also imposed a cost of Rs 20
thousand twice on Azharuddin for his non-appearance.

His counsel had sought exemption from personal appearance
in the case contending that Azharuddin was busy in poll
campaigning for the UP assembly elections.

They said Azharuddin was not avoiding appearance before
the court deliberately as he had not volunteered to be in the
list of campaigners which was prepared by the Congress party.

"Azharuddin is the star campaigner of the Indian National
Congress party, which is already notified to the Election
Commission also and is still under command to perform and
participate in the said campaign, which makes the applicant as
one of the essential persons in the entire process," his
counsel had said.

The magistrate had, however, said the court has nothing to
do with the fact that Azharrudin was the star campaigner of
his party and had issued non bailable warrants against him.

"This (being the star campaigner) is between you and the
party. The court has nothing to do with it," the court had
said dismissing his plea for personal exemption.

The magistrate had said that Azharuddin was "deliberately"
avoiding appearance in the case.


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